Western Balkan countries, including Albania, have their chances to join the EU in 2025 if they meet all the required EU membership criteria, EC president Jean-Claude Juncker said during his visit in Albania and Macedonia, local media reported. Juncker clarified he does not mean that these countries will necessarily become EU members in 2025, but that their efforts, if sufficient, will be recognized. Juncker did not announce a specific date when EU integration negotiations with Albania will be launched, but previous EC officials’ statements pointed to such likelihood in June 2018. Juncker encouraged Albania’s government to continue with their reforms.
Albania’s PM Edi Rama announced at the press conference with Juncker that there are already results from the vetting reform within the comprehensive judicial reform in the country. Seventeen judges and prosecutors were dismissed after refusing to be vetted, Rama said. The judiciary reform means that Albania has almost completed the talks on the chapter 23 and 24. However, the government should also show more convincing results in the fight against drug cultivation and traffic, the EU officials have said previously.